Conservation vs. Preservation

by: Michael Mae

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Are High Fence Ranches Conservation or Preservation?

High Fence ranches are usually large (several thousand acres) tracts of land enclosed by tall fences that are around 10 to 12 feet tall. The purpose of ranches like this is to contain animals on private property, thereby allowing for management and control of herds to yield game desired by trophy hunters. This type of hunting is also known as "canned hunting."

Conservation vs. Preservation

Webster defines conservation as "the careful use of natural resources (such as trees, oil, etc.) to prevent them from being lost or wasted." Basically, it means protecting natural resources with the intent of using them later on.

Preservation on the other hand, means: "to keep (something) in its original state or in good condition." In layman's terms, it means to lock something up in "mint" condition and never use it again, kind of like rare baseball cards.

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What High Fence Ranches are About

The main purpose for having a high fence ranch on several thousand acres of land is to be able to manage a population of deer to yield large bucks with huge racks of antlers. In doing this, these ranches accomplish two things: they are able to preserve the natural habitat that the deer inhabit, as well as conserve and manage a specific population of deer.

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High fence ranches are able to conserve deer and the land they live on by enclosing the property in a tall fence. By isolating a population of deer in this way, the landowners are able to more specifically manage the population of deer by selectively harvesting less desirable animals so that desirable traits like large racks will be passed down to the next generation of deer. This specific management offers opportunities for youth hunters to harvest the "less desirable" deer, thereby controlling population levels and managing the genepool of the deer population.
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High fence ranches preserve the land enclosed by the fences, keeping it in a pristine state for the deer and for generations to come.


Mason, Alec W. "Conservation." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

Samson, John L. "Wildcat Mountain Ranch for Sale." Vimeo. Vimeo, 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

Morgan, Johnathan C. "Texas Youth Hunting Program." TPWD:. State of Texas, 4 May 2013. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.